High-risk human papillomavirus and ZEB1 in ocular adnexal sebaceous carcinoma

Robert F. Moore, Xinhai R. Zhang, Derek B. Allison, Lisa M. Rooper, Ashley A. Campbell, Charles G. Eberhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Ocular adnexal (OA) sebaceous carcinoma is an aggressive malignancy. Oncologic drivers of ocular sebaceous carcinoma are incompletely understood. Methods: A retrospective search of our pathology archives for OA sebaceous carcinoma identified 18 primary resection specimens. Immunohistochemistry for p16 and ZEB1 and RNA in situ hybridization for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) subtypes were performed. Results: High-risk HPV was demonstrated in 2/11 (18%) cases. p16 overexpression was observed in 10/11 (91%). No association between gender, age at presentation, tumor location, intraepithelial spread, tumor size, and T stage was observed between HPV-driven and nonviral cases. High expression of ZEB1 was observed in the intraepithelial component of 4/14 (28%) cases and in the subepithelial component of 1/13 (7%) cases. ZEB1 overexpression was not associated with HPV status, T stage, or tumor size. Conclusion: As previously described by others, our findings suggest that a subset of OA sebaceous carcinomas may arise via an HPV-dependent pathway. However, unlike high-risk HPV-driven carcinomas of the oropharynx, we did not identify an association between HPV-status and prognostic features. Furthermore, p16 expression was not a useful surrogate marker for HPV-driven disease. ZEB1 overexpression is not associated with HPV in our cohort of ocular sebaceous carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1033
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cutaneous pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • ZEB1
  • high-risk HPV
  • ocular adnexal tumor
  • sebaceous carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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